Jail sued after woman commits suicide


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Casie Christensen claimed she was on heroin when she was taken to jail in 2014.

Her father, Spencer Christensen, now claimed that was the beginning of the end for his daughter.
She died two days later after she was found hanging from her jail cell.

Now her father is suing Salt Lake County, the jail and its staff for violating her civil rights.

“She got addicted to heroin and that’s all she thought about,” said Spencer Christensen.  “I mean she loved her two kids she took care of them as much as she could but there were times that she would slipped and left them alone.”

According to the lawsuit filed Thursday, Christensen told jailers “she had been using “two bags” of heroin per day, as well as cocaine.”

The lawsuit claims she “admitted using heroin and cocaine today (the day of her arrest).”

“They just say you guys are drug addicts  just deal with it,” said Christensen.  “And I would like to see that change. Something’s got to change.”

The lawsuit claimed Christensen was not given proper treatment and placed with the general population.

Her attorney said she went into withdrawals and two days after being jailed, she hung herself.

“If you give these people no treatment or inadequate treatment it’s unnecessary rigor,” said Robert Sykes. “It violates their constitutional rights and it’s cruel.”

Sykes said the jail’s treatment program is geared toward alcohol addiction not substance abuse.  He said she should have been closely monitored and the jail staff failed.

Christensen said his grandchildren are having a difficult time with their mother’s death.

“The older one, she has a hard time with it,” said Christensen.  “I have a hard time with it too because she looks just like her mom and I kind of go in a shell.  I mean we all miss her.”

The Utah Department of Health would like to remind Utahns that suicide is preventable. If you or someone you know needs help, there’s the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more information, visit utahsuicideprevention.org.

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